The story of John S. Watson, Chairman of the Board and CEO at Chevron
A strong educational foundation and the embodiment of continuous learning are required for one to make progression in the workplace today. John S. Watson comes from a family of educators who reinforced the value of education within his family. Through them and his own experiences, he comes to appreciate the importance of both formal and informal learning.
Laying the foundation:
Watson’s formal education – a bachelor’s degree in economics and a master’s degree in business administration – trained him well for a career at Chevron. Watson received his MBA from the University of Chicago, and the programme’s approach has instilled in him a way of thinking. It taught him the way to integrate various disciplines to solve problems and make effective business decisions. The university’s MBA programme has also deepened his understanding on the benefits of free markets.
Learning on the job:
While studies provided Watson with the foundation needed to kickstart his career, he managed to broaden his knowledge and skills by being on the job. He was receptive to new opportunities and to taking on tasks beyond his area of expertise. Watson continued to learn a great deal throughout his employment. All of these made Watson qualified to be a candidate for CEO of Chevron and, eventually, allowed him to serve in that role for eight years.
Watson believes that you will have to expand your skillset as you progress in your career in order to advance. You must be willing to continually advance your skills, learn new information, pick up knowledge from colleagues in other disciplines, and cultivate strong “people skills”. These skills are not easily taught in an academic setting, but they are fundamental for individuals who wish to thrive in the corporate world.
Developing skills for the future:
With an increasingly tech-focused economy, skills that require technical ability will be fundamental for those who wish to remain competitive. Even those who do not choose a career in science, technology, engineering or math (STEM) would benefit from being STEM literate because these disciplines are going to be critical to the workforce of the future. As interest in the STEM fields increases, it provides industry with a better chance to employ young individuals who have the skills and competency to carry out advanced technical work and also possess essential critical thinking skills, collaborative skills and creativity.
For a nation to continue to be successful and competitive, it is important to invest in the education system and its students. By doing so, it sets the foundation for higher learning and a successful career.